Cloud Streets In The Western Gulf Of Mexico
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Cloud Streets In The Western Gulf Of Mexico

November 4, 2011
A spectacular pattern of clouds formed over the Gulf of Mexico in late October, 2011 as a cold front stretched from the Gulf northeastward along the East Coast of the United States. The cold front expressed itself as beautifully aligned cloud streets over the warm waters of the Gulf, but further north it brought an early season winter storm which coated the Central Appalachians through New England with a blanket of snow.

This true-color image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite as it passed over the Gulf of Mexico at 19:40 UTC (3:40 p.m. EDT) on October 29, 2011.

In the lower right corner of the image, a band of thick, irregularly shaped clouds can be seen running from southwest to northeast. These clouds are forming along the cold front, where an unstable line where cold air pushes warm air upwards, causing cloud formation. Behind the cold front, high dry air moved over warm, moist air rising from Gulf waters causing water vapor to condense and form clouds. Known as “cloud streets”, the neat rows align with the pattern of the prevailing wind.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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